New Clinical Trial First to Show Immunotherapy Efficacy in Colorectal Cancer

By Cancer Foundation on March 28 / 2019

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Laboratory assistant putting test tubes into the holder, Close-up view focused on the tubes

Canadian researchers recently studied the effects of immunotherapy on colorectal cancers that had become resistant to other standard treatments. The result? They found that two specific immunotherapy drugs used in combination hold great potential for treating colon cancer.

While immunotherapy treatments have shown promise worldwide in treating many different types of cancer, 95% of patients with colorectal cancer have tumours which are resistant to these treatment approaches. But now, researchers are hopeful that could change.

The study, called CO.26, examined how the drugs durvalumab and tremelimumab effected colorectal cancers that had become resistant to all other standard available treatments. According to Dr. Eric Chen, the study chair and an oncologist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto, the two drugs proved to work well together. “These drugs have shown evidence of synergistic effect that we were hoping would overcome the apparent resistance of colorectal cancer to immunotherapy,” he says. The study ran in 27 centers across Canada, and thanks to our donors’ support of our local clinical trials office, Ottawa was one of them.

But what does this discovery mean for colon cancer treatment? While there is more testing to be done, certain patients who participated in the trial experienced significant benefits. “Over the past 18 months I have been able to lead a more normal life while controlling my cancer,” said Lucy Chang, one of the participants in the study. And, researchers feel the study has offered valuable information regarding the potential to use immunotherapy in the treatment of colorectal cancer. Thanks in part to support from our community, this research could one day lead to a solution for more people with colorectal cancer!

To read the full article published by the Canadian Cancer Trials Group, click here

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